Sunday, March 19, 2017

Keeping My Fingers Crossed

My daughter is an amazing woman. I wish I would have been more like her when I was a young working mother. She has a very demanding job with a consulting industry, works with some good people, is active with a women's legal organization, and also has to deal with some male chauvinist pigs in the company. Yet she has managed to hold her own while raising three children and running the household activities. This past week she came down with the flu on Monday after nursing her oldest who had contracted the flu the prior week.

She rarely calls us for help but she had to as she had scheduled a last minute fly-out to Chicago for just the day (an important luncheon with a group where one of the leaders, a cyber security expert, wanted her there for various reasons)  She also felt the meeting was important for her career.  Due to snow delays the week before, a repairman and a furniture deliveryman were scheduled for the day she was to fly out. We were happy to head up and house-sit since we had planned on driving up that weekend anyway for a Smithsonian lecture.


She made us an amazing Thai shrimp dinner the night before she caught her plane.



As luck would have it, the youngest son came down with the flu the afternoon before she left, so we did nurse duty, took him to the doctor's, and completed our house-sit duty for the next two days.  He seemed to weather the illness as children sometimes do.  Periods of rest...



 followed by creating a magic show for his granddad.


Hubby had been nursing a mild sore throat the day before we went up, so he was a bit compromised already.   Here we are four and a half days later, and back at home, and neither of us has gotten sick! We did get our flu shots this fall, but were told that they are only 50% effective this year.  Maybe we dodged the bullet?  I am still keeping my fingers crossed.

Daughter did not cancel the dog-walker which was good as I had not brought snow boots and the sidewalks were pretty slushy.  (Yes, some people call this a dog...).


I do not know how young parents juggled all that comes their way and I try not to think about it.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Fling Back

I have been thinking and thinking and trying to be nicer and more polite, but I am still in warrior mode.  I just cannot seem to find a safe place to put down the armor so....I will link to this post long ago and hope it gives you strength, as it did me when I re-read it.


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Shrink Wrap it


The news each morning is just too depressing. I find my brain has fried and once I get it re-hydrated, I will return. I am waiting for those mornings when I do not think "What fresh new hell..."



Thursday, March 02, 2017

Silliness

March 20 (2?) is the spring equinox, and I guess I missed it.  This roller coaster ride of days pushing 80 F followed by tornado warnings and then days with threatening snow, (and that was just THIS WEEK) it is no wonder that we are a bit confused about the seasons.




Bravely and with marshmallow faces
daffodils thrust through brown leaves
confused by the applause of the wind
with a boldness that only a newcomer would have.

Innocent of their subordinate role
in Nature's ambivalent plunge forward in time
we can pretend this immature spring
is just an anomaly in proportion.

Daffodils entered stage left before their cue
with that eagerness of innocence
and that silliness of a daffy down dilly.


Above with stage make-up.

(Yes, this should have been posted on my other blog...my bad.)

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Suspending Logic


Pretend with me a minute.  Let us say that a group of workers, perhaps they cut down redwoods, or capture rare owls, or make their living harvesting areas of rare algae, are finding their work more and more difficult as their resource dwindles.  They are following in the footsteps of their ancestors for generations, and therefore, politicians have given them a percentage (>70%) of the area that the resource is in to continue their work and feed their families.  The other 23 or so percent is set aside to keep the environmentalists happy and is put in sanctuary where only scientists can collect data for research and allow the resource to improve the environment.  Now imagine that pollution, climate change, and disease is shrinking living redwoods, flying owls or nutritional algae in both the harvest areas and the protected areas.  The workers are having a difficult time making a living and must take a second job.  They think this is unfair.  They feel the land owes them this harvest as it did their forefathers and they go to the politicians and say they realize that they must rotate their harvest to allow the product to replace itself, but they feel the politicians must also allow them a legal permit to harvest a rotational portion of the sanctuary part as well---up to 10% for now.  The environmentalists see this as a slippery slope to total extinction in a decade as the wild resource is at 1% of what it was 50 years ago.  In the state next door many of the citizens have sold their industry harvest tools and some have taken to growing the redwoods, owls, or algae as farmers.  The result being that they have actually turned the situation around and are making money and increasing the tax base substantially by farming and increasing the availability of the resource in farmed areas.  Unfortunately, the harvesters see this as a "cop-out."



One wonders why the "harvesters" in my state cannot see the light.  This in reality is about oysters.  Hubby testified at the State House building last week to keep the sanctuaries as sanctuaries and hopefully the delegates will see the light.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Though the Mind's Eye

We had this strange couple over to our house the other day.  They appeared to be in their seventies but  were rather gregarious and energetic for that age.  It was a bit exhausting, and a little bit annoying on my weekend off from work as they seemed to be talking all the time and they had enthusiasm for anything and everything.  Maybe they did not have many friends and had all that pent up stuff to share.  Yet, in all honesty, it was somewhat our fault, as we had initiated the call to visit their yard.  A friend had suggested that they also had some hillside erosion issues when they built their house and that we might get some ideas for our yard.

It was a three day weekend for my husband and I.  I was glad to be out of the city and back into our newly purchased get-away on the river.  The house is over 70 years in age tucked against the trees, but has been well maintained.   It was not large and still needed a lot of superficial work as a son of the prior owners had lived there a year and repaired nothing.  The rooms with contemporary high ceilings and track lighting and the wide windows overlooking the river on the left side and overlooking the backyard with a view across the river and the softer view of the marsh on the right from our rise of land were what I looked forward to soaking in with a cup of tea each Friday.  Each view was a painting.  Everything at the CIA had been tense these last weeks, and even though I was in the history section of the department writing biographies, I could feel the confusion and craziness just outside our section.  Warden, my husband, could shut everything out while he worked on his computer code, but I was in a room of people separated only by cubicles and could feel the distraction.  I was working on a detailed biography of Sarandji of the Central African Republic which had not been all that intriguing.

Anyway, Warden had called this elderly couple for a tour of their yard on the river.  They did sit on a bit of a hill, but the slope down to their tributary of the river was much softer.  It was hard trying to keep up with the couple, casually dressed in jeans and hoodies, on what was our warmest day of the new year thus far.  They showed us every single tree they had ever planted in their ten years of living there.  They pointed out various birds in the woods, the vegetable and flower gardens, and finally we got to the side of the hill where they had placed retention walled supports that we were interested in studying and the river where they had put in rocked reefs to deflect the waves from eroding more shoreline.  

The couple talked over each other and corrected each other like long term married couples do.  I decided that the best method was to divide and conquer.  So Warden took the husband for a while and I followed the wife.  Then mid-way we switched.  When we finished, we of course had to invite them back to our house to get their advice on our land challenge.  They were like happy dogs, covering paths and identifying plants and suggesting reinforcements in our yard while we tried to keep up.  By the time they left at 1:00 PM I was both hungry and ready for a lie down.  I was also wondering with some trepidation if our paths would cross more often when we fully moved down here.

(P.S.  The above is mostly true and happened last weekend.  We are the elderly couple, of course, so I have no idea what was running through the younger couple's minds, although I wrote this as if I did.  But I do know we (hubby) talked way too much.)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Fourth and Last on Photo Lying

This will be the last in my series of "adulterated" photo editing posts. The photo below is not one I took, but something my daughter-in-law took a few years ago when we were out exploring a state park. She took it with her phone which had an effect included that put the "grunge" filter on it. It includes my son and his nephew and niece (my grandson and my granddaughter).  It has that almost fisheye look as well.



Note the hand in the frame on the lower left. This is a better example of how hard it is to clone certain elements out of the photo. I tried to pay attention to detail, but it becomes obvious when you repeat a pattern from somewhere else in the photo over the part you want to clone out, particularly when there is not much background to choose from.  I also took out my sweet granddaughter but just left the light color of her clothing and it looks like a jacket or backpack, perhaps.



As a follow up to my prior post I had given up on getting the geese as the focal point of my photo.  I could have cropped it down, but the focus was too poor to be useful.  I just removed my neighbors for the heck of it to show how photos can lie.

Errol Morris in his book that I am reading wrote: "It is an error engendered by photography and perpetuated by us.  And it comes from a desire for "the ocular proof," a proof that turns out to be no proof at all.  What we see is not independent of our beliefs.  Photographs provide evidence, but no shortcut to reality.  It is often said that seeing is believing.   But we do not form our beliefs on the basis of what we see; rather, what we see is often determined by our beliefs.  Believing is seeing, not the other way around."